This could have been a really good book. The author is a competent writer, and has a strikingly original idea about how the Grim Reaper would deeply resent being cheated out of his task by an undead virus. Could have been . . . but isn't. Here's what went wrong.
- Uses the cookie-cutter "guess who is going to die next" formula. Like countless bad slasher movies, here you have a cast of characters, and have to try to guess who gets killed off next, and who will live to the end.
- Characters appear with no real purpose. Most of the action takes place in town, but there is a small Army group that stayed behind after the main force left, and spends most of its time outside town. They have no place whatever in the main story. It's like an additional short story that got chopped into pieces, and a piece inserted into the novel every chapter or so.
- Logic hole #1. The zombies here are propagated by getting bitten by another zombie, which passes along a virus. (Except zombies who are caused by exposure to "the Source", but that is pretty much an unexplored distinction.) Zombies gain energy by eating people, and the more they eat, the more energetic and "healthy" they become. But unlike the prototype Romero zombies, these zombies can't be killed with a head shot, because their flesh regenerates. So, a virus gives people the ability to regenerate flesh, bones, and organs? Say, that's a pretty good trick. And once a zombie is shot in the head, and the brain is gone, how does it function? Is the virus intelligent?
- Logic hole #2. The story is set 100 years after the outbreak. But the zombie virus is a cross-species one. It affects people, animals, fish, and amphibians. It may affect insects; that's hinted at but not really clear. With the food chain pretty much wiped out, and humans serving as a food source for an endless horde of zombie humans, birds, rats, dogs, mice, etc, is there any chance there would be life on earth after 100 years? Nope, maybe 10-20 years max.
- Death makes an innovative character, but is pretty much a bit player. The twist on Death's fate near the end is ingenious, but the author doesn't really do much with it.
- Sadly, like many zombie books, this is clearly part 1 in a multi-part series of books. When you're paying for a fairly short book (280 pages, but large type on small pages), at twice the cost of a normal paperback book, you have the right to expect better.
With every zombie novel, like horror or sci-fi, you have to suspend disbelief to an extent. But once you establish the parameters for your little corner of hell, then the rest of the story should logically fit within your constraints. That doesn't happen here. It makes an OK read if you can find it at a library, but just isn't worth the cost to buy a copy.